All customers needed was the code word. As soon as they said "Apple" they were in.
The next thing was to decide if they wanted $15 or $25 worth of synthetic marijuana, according to law enforcement. After paying, employees would hand the drugs over in a brown paper bag.
What employees at the Beverage Castle on Orient Road didn't know is that some of their customers were undercover Hillsborough County deputies.
"From what we gathered, they were selling easily thousands of dollars a day in it," Cpl. Ryan Zacher said.
Hillsborough County deputies said they were tipped off about the store selling spice two months ago.
Undercover deputies would simply drive into the facility, get the drugs and drive off, according to the Sheriff’s Office. After several buys, they raided the store and arrested three people they say sold them the spice.
Inside, they found some of the product in the store's office.
Some of the packages were hidden in speakers. The majority of the stash was in a hole in a wall behind a board that held brooms and mops, Cpl. Zacher said.
Christopher Campbell, 29, Lance Edgeman, Jr., 32, and Benjamin Sanford, 25, were arrested. Zacher said more charges and arrests could be made, pending the investigation. He said the owners could potentially face charges as well.